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Does your marketing agency deliver what they promise?

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The marketing world is changing at very fast pace, and many organizations - including marketing agencies - are struggling to catch up. I recently attended a marketing seminar where I noticed that many of my peers were talking about being challenged by their current and prospective clients about cost and performance.

It seems that being a marketer has become fashionable - perhaps even a fad - lately. People with little or no qualifications have opened their “agencies” (often in their homes) and are promising the world amazing returns - typically via social media. But how can a customer have confidence that they are doing business with qualified professionals if a marketer has no credentials? Of course, one can learn on the job, but would you trust a doctor without credentials? How about a lawyer? Prior to becoming a marketer, I spent eight years of my life in a university classroom pursing my undergraduate and graduate degrees, and have continued to invest heavily in my professional development over the past 15 years.

I am often amazed by the titles people grant themselves, including “expert,” “maven” and even “extraordinaire” (I actually received an email from someone last week whose job title is “marketing extraordinaire”). I am also perplexed by the avalanche of questionable marketing promises that I have recently seen. Before accepting a promise at face value, take a minute to consider it. Can anyone truly guarantee to make you more money? Doesn’t that seem too good to be true? Think about it: Your lawyer can’t promise that he’ll win your case; your accountant can’t promise you that you’ll never be audited; your doctor can’t promise you that you’ll be always healthy. And of course, marketers cannot promise you that we will make you more money. We can, however, do our very best to help you achieve your marketing goals. But those are fundamentally different promises.

There is no secret marketing recipe for making more money. If there were one, marketers would be the richest professionals in the world. Like any other profession, there are good, average and below par marketers, and good marketers tend to be more resourceful and perform better. But by the same token, marketing is a fickle profession. What works today may not work tomorrow. There is a lot of testing involved in most activities, until you fine-tune a program that really speaks to your audience - and that doesn’t happen overnight.

When hiring professional marketing firm, be sure to research each prospective provider before you make a decision. Who is going to handle your account: a seasoned marketer, or a recent college graduate? Interview your account representatives separately to find out if they have the knowledge necessary to help you achieve your goals. Take a look at their portfolios, and ask for references from other clients being handled by your assigned marketer. You would do the same if you were dealing with your own health, wouldn’t you? Marketing is a vital part of your business’ health, and deserves as much attention and care.

I tend to respect realistic professionals much more than those who make unfounded promises. I also think twice about self-proclaimed titles such as “extraordinaire” (I reserve such titles for people like Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein). The truth is that there is always room for us to improve our skills, and we all must continually invest in professional development in order to remain effective in today’s ever-changing marketplace. So, be sure to do your homework before hiring your next marketing agency - chances are, thorough background research will help you find the right match for your business.

Cíntia Miranda is the president of Pulse Marketing Agency. Learn more about her work at www.pulsemarketingagency.com.

Last modified on Friday, 01 June 2012 16:06

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